CES Helps Give Free Upgrade to Owner of Ugliest Panel

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Just looking at it, you could tell it was dangerous,” said City Electric Supply District Manager Shawn Howard. “The panel was really old. It looked like water leaked into the panel, so it rusted. The wire installation was brittle and starting to break off.”

The breaker box Howard describes was not only a mess but an obvious fire hazard.

“That panel could have easily caused a fire and burned the whole barn down,” Howard added.

Based on that description, you probably wouldn’t expect the the panel to win any awards — and you’d be wrong.

The Contest

In fact, Howard was describing the winner of the A-Abel Electric Ugly Panel contest.

“The ugly panel contest is something Jacob from A-Abel Electric came up with,” explained Howard. “We’ve known each other for 10 years. We were chatting after work, and he told me about his idea.”

A-Abel Electric General Manager Jacob Blommel’s idea was to have people send in pictures of their ugly panels and give the worst one a completely free upgrade.

“I thought it was a great thing to do and asked if CES could pay for all of the material,” said Howard.

Blommel accepted the offer and set up the contest. Homeowners just had to send in their pictures for a chance to win an incredible upgrade. A-Abel Electric would provide the labor, and CES would provide the materials.

The Winner

There were quite a few entries, but one stood out as the obvious choice.

“Oh, they picked the perfect customer as the winner,” laughed Howard.

Winner of A-Abel Electric’s Ugly Panel Contest before repairs

The winning panel was actually so bad that the contestant was having fun showing it off.

“The panel looked just horrible before,” said Howard. “It looks great now, though, and it’s no longer dangerous.”

City Electric Supply Waynesville provided breakers, PVC pipe, PVC fittings, and a panel. A-Abel Electric put in the labor. Both Blommel and Howard described it as a pretty simple project — but what made them take it on?

“Safety was the number one reason. Helping someone out,” said Howard. “Getting our name out there was the second reason. We want people to know we’re here to help.”

Winner of A-Abel Electric’s Ugly Panel Contest after repairs

“It’s nice to give back,” added Blommel. “It feels great to support the community we’ve been a part of throughout the years.”

And it’s safe to assume the customer is feeling pretty great, too. After all, they went from fire hazard to impressive new breaker box, all free of charge, simply because their panel was the ugliest one around.

“I hadn’t heard of anything like this before,” said Howard, “but I was happy Jacob let us ride his coattails on this. I’m proud we helped get that ugly panel out and replaced. I’m happy, Jacob’s happy, and the customer’s got to be happy. I guess you could say it all worked out.”

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